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G7 States to Try Preserve 'Unity' on Ukraine at Summit as Anti-Russia Sanctions Bite

© AFP 2023 / KARL-JOSEF HILDENBRANDThe flags of the G7 countries. File photo
The flags of the G7 countries. File photo - Sputnik International, 1920, 26.06.2022
The agenda of the G-7 summit hosted by Germany on June 26-28 will aim to present a united front to prop up Ukraine, where Russia is conducting a special military operation. The G7 leaders will also juggle strategies on how to contain fallout from their own self-destructive sanctions policy targeting Moscow.
The Group of Seven (G7) of the world's largest industrialized nations, consisting of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States, with the European Union as its ‘non-enumerated member,' is holding a summit in the Bavarian castle of Schloss Elmau from June 26-28.

‘Unity on Ukraine’

Russia's ongoing special operation to demilitarise and de-Nazify Ukraine is one of the dominating issues at the summit, as the US and its westerns allies struggle to project a united front in propping up the floundering Kiev regime with billions of dollars in aid and weapons.
In May, the G7 nations agreed to provide an addition $19.8 billion in economic aid to Ukraine.
A week after the US announced it will send $1 billion in military aid to Ukraine, the Biden administration revealed its latest package would include a number of High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems, or HIMARS, as well as ammunition and other supplies. This is in addition to $4.6 billion in security assistance Washington committed to Kiev since Russia started its special operation on 24 February.
Other countries have also made similar pledges, with France promising last week that it would send Ukraine six more truck-mounted artillery guns. Germany’s defense minister, Christine Lambrecht, signaled three multiple rocket launchers would be dispatched this summer.
Besides military aid, Ukraine received a much-hoped for boost when European Union leaders unanimously approved its application to become a candidate to join the 27-nation bloc, albeit the process will likely take years.
Ahead of the talks, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson urged his allies against wavering in their support for Kiev, saying:
“Ukraine can win and it will win. But they need our backing to do so. Now is not the time to give up on Ukraine."
Similarly urging unity in western resolve to continue to support Ukraine, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, had stated: "We can make important decisions... if we act as one and with determination."

Brainstorming on Energy

At the expense of supporting Ukraine, the administration of US President Joe Biden, its NATO allies and many European countries have been prepared to witness their own economies plunged into a cost of living crisis.
Accordingly, they will be using the G7 summit to desperately brainstorm on strategies to secure dwindling energy supplies and tackle skyrocketing inflation.
Europe’s reliance on Russia’s natural gas has been increasingly an issue capable of driving a wedge into the alliance focused on supporting Ukraine.
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The United States, Canada and Britain have already banned imports of Russian oil, while the EU has imposed six packages of sanctions hitting Russia's banking, finances and media, government officials and lawmakers, as well as oil supplied by sea, not pipelines.
After the sanctions measures came into effect, they backfired, causing global energy prices to soar, while driving Russian crude revenues to a record high.
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With gas prices in the US futures markets are up roughly 70% so far, and global benchmark prices soaring by about 40% this year, prompting gasoline prices to surge as well, John Kirby, White House National Security Council spokesman had stated ahead of the summit:
“Core problems that are on the top of mind for all of us" include "rising prices, supply chain disruptions all exacerbated by this war in Ukraine."
One of the issues reportedly discussed "very constructively" are price caps on energy, intended to limit Russian oil and gas profits. The idea, approved by US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, was reportedly being discussed in terms of how it would it would fit in with the US, EU, UK, Canadian and Japanese sanctions regimes.
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The mulled price cap would set an upper limit on imports of oil from Russia, imposed unilaterally by each participating country. According to reports in western media, European nations see this measure as a way to potentially offset rampant inflation driven by energy prices.
The United States economy, like that of many western countries that slapped sanctions on Russia over its military operation in Ukraine, is currently forced to contend with inflation 8.6% inflation which represents a 40-year record. The Eurozone has been reporting a year-on-year inflation of 8.1%, bringing closer the threat of recession.

Countering China

Another issue firmly in the spotlight is China, as President Joe Biden is set to formally launch a global infrastructure partnership meant to counter Beijing’s influence in the developing world, which he had named “Build Back Better World.''
Introduced at last year's G-7 summit, the economic initiative by the US is designed to provide an alternative to China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) for the infrastructure development of low- and middle-income countries.
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According to Kirby, Biden and other leaders would announce the first projects to benefit from what the US has promised would be an “alternative to infrastructure models that sell debt traps to low- and middle-income partner countries, and advance US economic competitiveness and our national security.''
"The impact that China's coercive economic practices, use of forced labour, intellectual theft -- all those are front and centre for the G7, and I think you're going to see China very much at the forefront as the G7 goes on," John Kirby was cited as saying.
After the G-7 concludes in Bavaria, the leaders of the 30 countries in the NATO alliance will gather for their annual summit in Madrid on 29-30 June.
In Madrid, the alliance will unveil a new “Strategic Concept,'' that explicitly references addressing challenges from China.
In response, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin accused the alliance of trying to “start a new Cold War'' and warned against the bloc against “drawing ideological lines which may induce confrontation.''
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